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Last post Author Topic: More speed/bandwidth from an 802.11n laptop<-->WiFi Router/Modem connection?  (Read 17087 times)

IainB

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...Any chance of getting a replacement unit?...
No, it's a secondhand unit, and it's not as though it's not working, anyway.

Well , I had looked at several different areial designs, but I had flagged them and also flagged the idea of directional beam antennae, as they all seemed too complicated and fussy (hurt my brain). However, reading the cantenna projects (which I had not seen before, so thankyou), I have to say they looked interesting, though I am skeptical as to the received signal strength by such antennae.
I shall maybe try a cantenna out as a last resort, if the foil or beercan reflectors don't work too well.
Experimentation seems the best way to go.

4wd

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Yes, I already have a design in mind using some cardboard and ally foil.

I've used a cardboard/foil parabolic reflector on a USB 802.11n adapter to get a signal over 150m through 10-12 brick/concrete houses.  It boosted an on/off marginal signal enough to have a permanent connection.

I've also used the Stan Swan's WiFry antenna  :D

A bit beat up now, (it's gone round the world twice):

IMG_20130223_101626.jpgMore speed/bandwidth from an 802.11n laptop<-->WiFi Router/Modem connection?
« Last Edit: February 22, 2013, 05:41:43 PM by 4wd »

IainB

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The beercan reflector worked quite well. There is still variability, mostly between about 30 to 58.5mbps, but with seemingly longer periods at the higher values. I am going use a second can to make it taller - the aerial is longer than the beer can is high.
The blue tape on the can in the photo is to protect me from the dangerously sharp edges of the cut beer can. I only got a slight cut on one finger!

WiFi 802.11n 02- beercan antenna reflector..jpg

IainB

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I have been putting a couple of useful comments/suggestions to the test:
  • I have struggled with this in the past and came to the conclusion that only devices designed to work together (whether full or draft n spec) by the same manufacturer get anything like the advertised bandwidth...

  • After searching a bit, it seems to me that "802.11n Lite n" just means it's 150Mb/s as opposed to 300Mb/s - 600Mb/s, (ie. it's still full 802.11n compliant, just that because it's single antenna it's speed is limited).

After some searching about, I found that there is a TP-Link 150Mbps Lite N USB network adapter (which would presumably match theTP-Link "Lite N" wifi router), and there is a newer version of this produced as a mini USB network adapter. I located them online at a local supplier who was selling both devices at the same, heavily-discounted unit price (NZ$20, or US$16.50). Mindful of the limited strength of soldered surface-mounted USB ports, I bought the mini one (a shorter lever, if knocked):
Here they are (not to scale):

TP-Link - 150Mbps Wireless N USB Adapters.pngMore speed/bandwidth from an 802.11n laptop<-->WiFi Router/Modem connection?

Here are a couple of shots of the mini adapter - one showing it alongside an old tarnished US 5-cent coin my son found the other day, and the other showing a close-up and the part number:

TP-Link - WN723N 150Mbps Mini Wireless N USB Adapter.pngMore speed/bandwidth from an 802.11n laptop<-->WiFi Router/Modem connection?

Here is the performance that resulted: (Success!)

WiFi 802.11n 02 - Performance - TL-WN723N 150Mbps mini wireless N USB adapter.pngMore speed/bandwidth from an 802.11n laptop<-->WiFi Router/Modem connection?

I am still to add the second beer can to the wifi router reflector.

Carol Haynes

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Now you will want to trade them all in for a the full spec 802.11n kit.

By the way unless you have corporate high speed broadband you won't see any speed differences at all for broadband - just large file transfer across the network.

IainB

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Now you will want to trade them all in for a the full spec 802.11n kit.
By the way unless you have corporate high speed broadband you won't see any speed differences at all for broadband - just large file transfer across the network.
Yes, absolutely! Of course, I had already been checking out the prices for a full spec 802.11n kit with dual band high-speed transmission, USB device support, shared storage, FTP capability, etc. - the objective being to have my own local "cloud" and get max speed data interchange rates between PCs and shared storage on the local/shared network - and barely a wire in sight.
However, being thrifty, pragmatic and something of a minimalist, I have to admit that I don't actually really need all that functionality/speed...but it's funny how your geek "needs" expand when the technology beckons with new possibilities...    :-[
So it's all a "deferred need" for now.

Carol Haynes

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If you want to get maximum speed with minimum wires there are now a number of GigaBit mains-plug networking options. You can still add WiFi to the mix when needed but for static equipment fast mains-plugs and a Gigabit switch will give faster speeds than WiFi.

IainB

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^ Yes, thanks. I had been considering that option for some time, but am not sure that it will necessarily suit my peculiar needs. The technology seems quite effective, by all reports. I shall probably trial it at some stage anyway.

Carol Haynes

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I live in an area where most houses are old and stone built - homeplug networking really works best as WiFi can be patchy at best in some houses. You can even use homeplugs to expand wifi - just connect homeplugs between the router and a room with poor wifi and add another wifi Access point.

Note make sure the homeplug devices you use actually work at the speeds specified. There were some Gigabit compatible homplugs (ie. they talked to access points and routers at Gigabit spec) but the actual ethernet connection into the plug was standard 100mbps!!!

kyrathaba

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Quote
By the way unless you have corporate high speed broadband you won't see any speed differences at all for broadband - just large file transfer across the network.

^ +1.

It's great if, like me, you like to backup your Music, Vids, and many other forms of data to multiple other computers without the drudgery of physically moving removable media (USB stick, 2.5" external drive, etc.) from one machine to another. But don't expect a huge leap in your download speeds from the internet when you've only got non-corporate-speed broadband...

kyrathaba

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By the way, congrats Ian on achieving 150 Mbps...  :)

kyrathaba

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Here I am sitting at my usual desktop PC within five feet of my router... Meh!

2013-03-03_090210.png

Carol Haynes

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Try changing the wireless channel at the router - it may be a conflict with another local network.

IainB

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By the way, congrats Ian on achieving 150 Mbps...  :)
Well, I might not have got there, or so quickly, at least, without the comments/suggestions in this discussion. As above, the helpful comments by @Carol Haynes and @4wd got me thinking.
What I have been able to prove so far is that you can get full performance to spec out of this type of wifi kit - so it's an achievable potential performance spec, and not just theoretical (as @rgdot had suggested might be the case) - and the kit works very well, given the suitable operational parameters and environment.
It also suggests that this (and probably most similar) wifi kit is likely to be out in the field, operating at well below the potential performance spec, due to incorrect operational parameters - never mind the environment.

Where @4wd wrote:
...I'd be tempted to try a cheap 802.11n USB adapter in the laptop, (to eliminate the Draft-n component).
FWIW, I've used this, this and this, (all of which are Realtek 8188/8192 chipsets), to connect a WDTV Live to my ASUS RT-N16 over 12-15m through two plasterboard walls, a 50cm CRT TV, a couch and a CD rack, they all connect at 150Mb/s.
After searching a bit, it seems to me that "802.11n Lite n" just means it's 150Mb/s as opposed to 300Mb/s - 600Mb/s, (ie. it's still full 802.11n compliant, just that because it's single antenna it's speed is limited).
- it got me thinking that a cheap USB network adapter from the same TP-Link manufacturer, designed for 802.11n @ 150Mbps might be all that I would probably need to enable me to test what he and @Carol Haynes had been suggesting.

So for approx US$17 and the time of some intermittent fiddling about and firmware/driver installs, I not only have discovered and learned some new things, but also have managed to get the Laptop<-->TP-Link wifi ADSL2+ router working perfectly.  

Though tempted, I have also been able to avoid expending the time/cost/effort of swapping the router for another router as suggested by @40hz - kept the focus on the kit being used.
It just goes to confirm/remind that, if you aren't fully conversant with the technology being used, then it helps to be careful and methodical about analysing, defining and treating the causal problem rather than start trying to randomly fix it.

Having got it all working perfectly, my next step is to play about with the beercan reflector and add a 2nd can's height to the existing single-can reflector, because the first can did seem to make a perceptible difference in reducing the variability of the signal speed/quality (strength). I would like to see whether it is possible to get up to 150Mbps at the location 2 rooms away from the wifi router.

kyrathaba

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Quote
It also suggests that this (and probably most similar) wifi kit is likely to be out in the field, operating at well below the potential performance spec, due to incorrect operational parameters - never mind the environment.

Yeah, could be why my speeds aren't better. I've got multiple computers. The laptops have their own internal WIFI "radio" (of whatever brand, who can say), and the four laptops each have a USB wi-fi adapter of different brand, than the router, although they're all "b/g/n compliant" LOL!

For my family's relatively conservative needs (web browsing, checking email), 30-60 Mbps as an average range is acceptable. I'm not knowledgeable enough to go mucking about with things. If it ain't broke, don't fix it (unless you're adventurous, well-informed, and can afford the frustration and cost of failure). In my case, I'd have multiple irritated kids and a wife all irritated if I screwed up their internet connection by messing with something that "works".
« Last Edit: March 03, 2013, 05:57:45 PM by kyrathaba »

IainB

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^ Yes, different brands of internal laptop wifi cards are not necessarily able to play well with the TP-Link N/150.
The rule is to standardise on what works.
As soon as I got the 150Mbps N USB mini Network Adapter to work nicely, I installed it on my daughter's laptop, and it worked fine there too, so I might buy another mini adapter (the same spec) for her. Then we can download shared "Workgroup" files (e.g., OneNote Notebooks) and stream shared media off of each others' laptops more easily, with the benefit of the faster data exchange rate. Improve the quality of the "local Cloud".
@Carol Haynes alluded to higher wifi speeds than 150Mbps probably being of little benefit otherwise for domestic Internet response times, unless you happen to have a commercial/T3 line or something (which I don't).

lanux128

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has anyone tried one of these devices? according to the blurb on their website, it "offers up to 8 times the range of conventional adapters" and "the signal remains reliable when it passes through multiple walls or floors". seems worth a try if you're having difficulties in getting a signal.



http://www.tp-link.c...mp;model=TL-WN7200ND

Carol Haynes

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Strikes me that a full spec wireless n setup should be better than that. 802.11n should have a much larger range than g, and whilst n-light has a better range it is only single band and not going to be that much better than g.

A lot of manufacturers are going for n-lite these days - personally I think it is a bit of smoke and mirrors. Most people want n (if they even know what it is) and n-lite allows manufacturers to bamboozle people with 'n rated' products that are not full n spec. Presumably it is so that they can claim it is n and it costs them a lot less to produce.

If speed is important to you go for full spec 802.11n throughout. But as I suggested earlier try to buy everything from one manufacturer and if at all possible from the same product range within that catalogus. It is a bit more expensive than n-lite but you are getting at least double the speed and full range/penetration on the signal.

I used to use wireless throughout but now I prefer reliability to clutter free and I use a gigabit switch to connect fixed apparatus together at gigabit speeds, 802.11n lite (using a free router from my ISP - I have an old full rated 802.11n Netgeat router that went a bit flaky and I have to say it worked great while it wasn't flaky but I couldn't justify replacing it given that most of my setup is now wired) for tablets, printers and laptops and  mains plugs for hard to reach fixed stuff like TVs (which provide adequate transfer rates for TV streaming).

Combination seems to work well for me and file transfer between desktop computers is excellent.

IainB

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has anyone tried one of these devices?...

That's kinda what this discussion thread is all about - 802.11n 150Mbps (also referred to as 802.11n "Lite") wifi equipment - focussing on how to get the best speed/bandwidth out of an existing setup.
The setup was:
(a) The router: a TP-Link TD-8950ND 150Mbps Wireless N ("Lite")ADSL2+ Modem Router. ("Wifi router".)
(b) The wireless network adapter:  i.e., the one built-in to my laptop.

This is what I did in more or less the order I did it in:
  • 1. I updated the firmware in the router and for the drivers of the laptop's built-in network adapter.
    Result: No noticeable effect.

  • 2. I fiddled around experimentally with the settings in the router.
    Result: No noticeable effect.

  • 3. I fiddled around with the settings in the network adapter (e.g., including switching it to 802.11n only, disabling the the 802.11b/g standard functionality).
    Result: No noticeable effect.

  • 4. I tried bumping up the signal concentration/strength by putting a high-tech  8)  reflector "dish" (made from an opened-out beer can) around the router's vertical antenna. This would beam more of the radiated signal in the laptop's direction.
    Result: It had a slight improving effect on the signal strength received by the laptop 2 rooms away, but it still wasn't realising the 150Mbps potential even if the laptop was placed in close proximity to the wifi router.

  • 5. I changed the setup by installing a TP-Link - WN723N 150Mbps Mini Wireless N USB Adapter and updated the associated driver to current spec., and disabled the laptop's bult-in network adapter.
    Result: Success! Definite improvement with the typical signal strength/quality 2 rooms away from the wifi router moving up to about 90Mbps. and quite often peaking at 120Mbps, and 150Mbps being typical in the same room as the wifi router.

  • 6. I have today added a second beer can reflector inverted on top of the first, thus roughly doubling the overall reflector area.
    Result: A further step up! The typical signal strength/quality 2 rooms away from the wifi router is still about 90Mbps. but now also quite often 120Mbps, and the peak has gone up to max spec of 150Mbps.

What you seem to be suggesting is putting a high-gain antenna on the laptop's 150Mbps network adapter. I feel sure that that would definitely help to make the most of whatever signal is getting through the walls to the laptop, but I have not tried that as I didn't want to invest more $$ than I absolutely had to to get the actual performance up to spec.
Also, in choosing the mini USB network adapter, I deliberately bypassed the older, larger TP-Link - WN721N 150Mbps Wireless Lite N USB Adapter - which probably would have a higher gain antenna (being longer). In my view, small is good and less easily damaged when moving the laptop around - also, less noticeable to my inquisitive 2½ year old son, who represents an environmental risk for laptops, as he has a fascination for them.

lanux128

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@IainB: yes, i just noticed that you were successful in solving the problem. i may have read into kyrathaba's problem's inadvertently but since he is okay with it then i guess that's that. ;)

fwiw, i use this router, TL-WDR4300 with this adapter and i do get 150Mbps consistently. however internet downloads peak at 400K/s while local file transfers can go up to 20MB/s.

Carol Haynes

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however internet downloads peak at 400K/s

That's your internet provider's fault

IainB

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^ Yes, +1 for what @Carol Haynes said.

lanux128

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however internet downloads peak at 400K/s

That's your internet provider's fault

that's quite obvious, isn't it? :D tbh, i was not looking to blame anyone, just sharing my experience.

Carol Haynes

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that's quite obvious, isn't it? :D tbh, i was not looking to blame anyone, just sharing my experience.

Not to everyone  :D :tellme: :o :huh: :-[

IainB

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I was today helping a not very technically-minded friend, over the phone, to fix an apparent WiFi problem in a new place he had moved to, where he was sharing an access point with other users.
He said that the panel Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Network and Sharing Center displayed 2 WiFi points: (this is in Win7-64)
  • WiFi (SSIDname)
  • WiFi 2 (SSIDname)
- where the SSIDname was the same in both cases.

I figured that probably meant that he had 2 x WiFi devices connected to the same WiFi access point, and I didn't see how that was possible and wondered if I could replicate the situation. Much to my surprise, I succeeded in doing that using a Toshiba laptop (Win8.1-64 PRO) with an onboard WiFi device plus 2x USB mini-WiFi devices plugged in to USB ports, so that altogether I effectively had 3 WiFi connections to the same SSID:

WiFi - 3 devices connected to one SSID (750).png


Doing this (installing the 2 extra USB mini-WiFi devices to make 3 in all) seemed to create some system instability and crashes, but I can repeat it once installed, though start-up with all the devices connected is very S-L-O-W, so I presume there's some conflict or bus collisions going on somewhere.
The performance of the laptop in online browsing doesn't seem so great with all 3 devices going, so the actual speed is probably not the sum of the 3 devices' reported speeds...   ;D
___________________________________

The above experiment with the 2 extra wifi devices made me think I should update the experiment described in this discussion thread.
Since my last post here, I managed to "brick" the HP ENVY 14 laptop I had been using when I started the thread. I bricked it whilst in the process of trying to fix it (there had been a major hardware problem in the graphics display).
I am now using a different (manufacturer refurbished) laptop - a Toshiba - which has a different WiFi device:
Realtek RTL8188CE Wireless LAN 802.11n PCI-E NIC the chip spec is RTL8188CE
  • Driver date: 2013-10-18
  • Driver version: 2012.3.913.2013

The spec indicates that it is a non-Bluetooth "Full-n" (i.e., not Lite-n) device.
With the laptop in its usual position 2 rooms away from the access point, the peak connection speed I get with it is 120Mbps, with 150Mbps not so far seen (as far as I can recall), however it unfailingly gets 150Mbps when in the same room as the access point.
The usual connection speed I get with it in the 2 rooms away site seems to be mainly and fairly consistently 120Mbps, but fluctuates sometimes between 120/90/60 - which is affected by laptop position/angle relative to the WiFi access point.
This was perhaps not quite as good as the less consistent performance experienced with the above-described mini-adapter - TP-Link 150Mbps Lite N USB network adapter (Part No. TL-WN723N) - when using the HP ENVY laptop, but when I plug that mini-adapter into the Toshiba, for some reason it doesn't perform as well as it did on the HP ENVY laptop. I can't explain the performance difference of the same mini-adapter when used on the 2 different laptops, but it does indicate that there are probably other factors at play  - that is, other than the postulated technological compatibility (Lite-n) between the access point and the mini-adapter.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2014, 04:53:58 AM by IainB »